Incidents of hazing are rarely reported, often because they occur in private or secretive settings and carry the fear of reprisal against the victims.
Yet it is estimated that more than 250,000 students, from grade school through college, from those wishing to join fraternities and sports teams, are the victims of hazing each year. Hazing also occurs in the military and in the workplace. And over the past 10 years, the incidents have grown worse – more humiliating, more sexual, more violent.
One of the most highly publicized cases in recent years is that of Timothy Piazza, a 19-year-old Penn State student forced to consume alcohol until he fell down a flight of stairs, suffering severe injuries. Then Piazza was left unattended and without calls made for emergency assistance until he died. Kline & Specter, PC, founding partner Tom Kline is currently representing the Piazza family. In a settlement with the national fraternity announced recently, Kline obtained a confidential monetary sum and a comprehensive package of 17 reforms intended to make Greek life safer across the country. (See the reforms)
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury or death as the result of a hazing incident, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Kline & Specter, with more than 40 attorneys, five of whom are also medical doctors, has the experience and expertise to help. Contact us for a free private consultation.
Our law firm has a lengthy record of representing college students and their families for decades in cases involving serious injury and death, including hazing, sexual assault, athletic injury, sexual abuse, and other matters. Most states have laws prohibiting hazing and allowing civil suits against offenders, whether they are individuals, fraternities, or universities and their officials.
Kline has worked on behalf of students at a number of colleges, including Cornell University and Lafayette College, and has also sued the NCAA for failing to protect students. According to the website insidehazing.com, five percent of all college students say they have been the victim of hazing and 22 percent report that a coach or advisor was involved in the hazing. The percentages went even higher for female college athletes.
The incidents very often include alcohol consumption, humiliation, isolation, sleep-deprivation, and sexual acts. While generally conducted in private settings and within confined groups, many hazing incidents also are carried out on campus and in public places.
Adding to the humiliation that goes with many acts of hazing, one report notes that photos of more than half the incidents are later posted on public web spaces and social media. Also, while recognized more and more as a problem, particularly in college settings, students report there is little done by most schools to prevent hazing beyond statements that such behavior will not be tolerated.
Victims of hazing who have suffered serious physical or psychological injuries should contact our attorneys through this website or by calling 215-772-1000. All consultations are free and confidential.